Episode 16: The Incident, Part 1
Finally, we meet Jacob! And his nemesis, the man in black! I wanted to mention this scene so badly, especially when we were talking about Ben and Charles’ cosmic rivalry in episode 2, but I knew even hinting at it way back then would be really silly and probably send you on a wild goose chase since the writers kept their cards to their chests for so long.
From the opening scene of Jacob at his loom, all kinds of mythological and religious imagery are in play. His weaving obviously brings to mind the Fates, carefully spinning out human lives on their looms. And when he caught and grilled the fish on the beach, did you catch some kind of hint of Jesus grilling fish after his resurrection? So who does that make the man in black? Given their dialogue and the rest of the episode, we’ve got to think that if Jacob is some kind of god-like figure, or at least a “good guy” in some way (the man in white, after all), then his nemesis is the opposite. Our first hint of this, beyond their clothing choices, is the man in black’s pessimistic read of humanity – they come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt – and Jacob’s more optimistic hope. We learn that Jacob brings people to the island, presumably to prove his nemesis wrong. This exchange really threw me into the mythology of Job. In that biblical tale, God and Satan make a wager: Satan bets God that Job is only faithful because of his material comfort, but if afflicted with sorrows and suffering, he will recant. Something like this is going on with Jacob and the man in black, with Jacob in the role of God. Through a series of flashbacks, we see Jacob interacting with a variety of characters, often in vulnerable moments, trying to correct them, guide them, and generally watch over them. So at least we have some clue how our characters ended up on the island – Jacob brought them. Why and how is yet to be discussed. Even more ominously during this beach exchange, we learn that the man in black is intent on killing Jacob, but just like Ben and Widmore, he is bound by rules greater than either of them and is searching for a loophole.
If the real cosmic battle is between Jacob and his foe, where does that leave Ben and Widmore? Once we realize that Ilena and Bram are on Jacob’s team, we have to assume that Widmore is on the other team (since they try to stop Miles from joining up with Widmore). But what about Ben? Ben admits that he has never met Jacob, but if we believe Ben at all, he has at least thought he was playing for Jacob’s team. A major question is whether Ben or Widmore knows about Jacob’s rival and is consciously working on his side. I am inclined to think that Widmore does, but not so sure about Ben. Then again, Locke gives Ben a long list of reasons why he should want to kill Jacob and it is clear Ben is pretty taken by them. Which should make us wonder: if Jacob’s rival is intent on killing Jacob, what role do Ben and Locke play in his plan?
Locke continues to reveal his new darker side: prompting Ben to kill Jacob, telling Richard they will have to “take care” of the Ajira passengers. If there is a cosmic battle going down between good and evil, what team is Locke playing for? Likewise, what does it say about Ben’s character that Jacob has not revealed himself to him? Oh, so much to say, but restraint, restraint!
I am obviously fixated on Jacob and his nemesis, but in other news, I loved watching Juliet kick some ass on the sub. Both she and Kate have proven once again in the last few episodes what awesome leaders they would make, and one has to wonder why they’ve never been given the job officially. And what about the return of Bernard and Rose?! It still doesn’t answer the question of where the others survivors are, but it was wonderful to see them again. Rose’s speech was especially powerful in light of the man in black’s dark prognosis of humanity. As she says: “you traveled back 30 years in time and you’re still trying to shoot each other?” If that doesn’t sound like a pattern of destruction, I don’t know what is, whereas Rose and Bernard have found themselves some small piece of paradise. The look on Juliet’s face as Bernard offers her tea and she turns to tromp off into the jungle was heart breaking – it was as though she was being offered a tiny moment of grace, a way off the path of intervention, rescue, and wrangling for power, and for oh so many reasons she said no. But at least, unlike Kate and Sawyer, she actually seemed to be aware of what she was saying no to.
I am going to stop now before I say anything I will regret. We only have one more episode and I am super excited to hear what you thought of this one and to dive head first into the beginning of the end.
Oh my goodness that episode rocked my world! As you may remember, the only question I felt I *needed* answered was what connected all our Oceanic 815 friends to each other in the real world. They didn’t end up on that plane together by fate, I felt, but rather, their lives were intertwined in the real world and that meant that they had to be on that plane for a reason. And to be honest, the idea that Jacob visited each one is good enough for me. The idea that he handpicked each is fine – I don’t need to know his reasons. I’m satisfied by that.
So, yes, I love love love that Jacob has finally appeared – that he is real, has a history and has inter-relational connections. I love too that his connections to our friends are not bound by time – in true Lost fashion. He visits Kate and Sawyer as kids. But he doesn’t visit Sayid until after the 815 crash and his return to the real world (fascinating!). And he recruits Ilena (who it seems he has known for much longer) not long ago, it seems.
His relation with the man in black certainly intrigues too. I see what you’re saying about Job and Satan. Yes, I definitely think there’s a play on that narrative. But some others spring to mind as well. When the man in black says how much he wants to kill Jacob – that he’s searching for a loophole that will allow it – I couldn’t help but think of Cain and Abel. In the Bible, Cain and Abel are brothers, the sons of Adam and Eve post-Fall, expelled from Eden. Inexplicably, seemingly randomly, God favors Abel and for that Cain hates his brother and performs on him the first human murder. And I saw echoes of that. But they were also reminiscent of Jacob and Esau – not only because of Jacob’s name, but because of the enmity between those two Biblical brothers as well. In Scripture, Jacob steals the birthright from his brother and, even as a lying trickster, finds God’s favor more than his brother is able to do. Again rivalry. But that also seems to connect with this desire of the man in black to find a loophole – there are rules to this game, rules that can be circumvented, and rules that impact God’s chosen one. It’s a fascinating intersection of stories – I’m curious to see where they take it!
Ok, so what the frig is in that box that the Ajira folks are carrying around? All I can think is that it’s John’s body – but of course that doesn’t make a tonne of sense. Is it another nuclear bomb? That also doesn’t make sense – and it has to be something Lapides recognizes…hmpf, I’m stumped! And what is going to happen in the shadow of the statue, to which they now trek? What could Lapides a candidate for? And has Ilena been to the island before? She certainly knew her way around Jacob’s shack! And on that note, why has Jacob previously appeared as Christian?
Yes, I loved the return of Rose and Bernard, and yes I’m totally with you on the interpretation from Rose regarding the ongoing fighting. But I was torn between whose side I was on. Sure, Rose and Bernard have eked out a nice little life for themselves. They’ve settled into what supposedly matters the most (monogamous married life??) in a way that convicts Sawyer and Juliet. But there’s also something to the nobility of trying to save others that Sawyer, Juliet and Kate track down. If I’m going to follow some moral narrative of life truly being about being with the one you love, I think I’m going to follow the Jin/Sun and even Desmond/Penny narrative of working hard to find each other across space and time rather than the ‘what will be will be’ attitude of Bernard and Rose.
So I like Jack again. Perhaps it’s because him and Kate are on opposite teams again – but he’s an interesting guy once more. I love that he smiles with affection each time one of his friends appears. I love it because it seems that he’s finally acting heroically for the good of others rather than to stroke his own ego. And I’m intrigued that now, just as we no longer trust Locke, Jack does – enough to tell Richard not to give up on John yet.
Oh and did I call it or did I call it – boobs and tummy touches are great clues…Eloise is preggers with Daniel as she tries to take down the nuke!
Is it just me, or do you feel a feeling that Charlie might be coming back? In those opening scenes while Jacob was doing his incantations or whatever it was, I was sure they were shooting him to look like Charlie…to make us think he was Charlie. And then Sun finds the DS ring in Aaron’s old crib on the beach. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of our Brit-pop friend…and perhaps not the last of Claire either! Yey!
So my favourite line in the episode: Ben’s response to John’s, “do you mind if I ask you a question,?”…”I’m a Pisces”. I do love that Ben’s evil genius occasionally manifests in ridiculously fast and dry comebacks to those who push him.
Eeee, last episode. I’m going to watch it right now!!